Fleet operators are being urged to place winter tyre orders with Kwik-Fit Fleet by the end of September and ensure the tyres are fitted to vehicles during October to guarantee availability.

Following unprecedented corporate sector demand for winter tyres last year, Kwik-Fit Fleet has ordered 200,000 winter tyres this year – four-times more than last year – worth £20 million at retail prices to meet anticipated orders from public and private sector fleets.

Additionally, Kwik-Fit Fleet has established a winter tyre hotline – 0330 1231567 – and email address – fleetcst@kwik-fit.com – through which fleet operators can place their winter tyres order. The tyres will then be ring-fenced for customers on the basis that they are fitted by the end of next month.

Customers should provide details of their tyre requirements together with an order number and Kwik-Fit Fleet’s Customer Services Team will, once it has been confirmed that the tyres are available, reserve them on a customer’s behalf. In the event that the tyres are not in stock the Team will notify a customer once they arrive.

Kwik-Fit Fleet will then arrange with customers for the appropriate tyres to be delivered to a convenient centre for fitment. As part of the special winter ordering facility customers are obliged to have tyres fitted by the end of October.

As last year, Kwik-Fit Fleet is offering a ‘hotel’ facility that sees it remove, pack, label and store each company car and van’s summer tyres in its National Distribution Centre for £10 per tyre per season. In the spring, the summer tyres will be returned to each customer’s centre of choice for fitment with the winter tyres removed and stored until required again.

Kwik-Fit Fleet Sales Director Peter Lambert said: “Meteorologists are already warning that the first harsh winter weather could arrive next month. As a result, we are recommending that winter tyres should be fitted to vehicles from the end of September or in the first half of October and remain in place until the end of March.”

He continued: “Strong demand for winter tyres last year following consecutive harsh winters meant supplies ran out. Due to strong global demand stocks could not be replenished.

“In readiness for this winter, many fleet operators placed their orders months ago which enabled Kwik-Fit Fleet to more easily predict demand and place orders with suppliers.

“However, while some organisations were quick off the mark in ordering winter tyres, others have still to make a final decision. We would urge them to place their orders before the end of September to ensure availability.

“If fleets are unable to place orders before the end of September Kwik-Fit Fleet will, as always, do its best to meet demand by sourcing winter tyres as quickly as possible.

Winter tyres, which are composed of more rubber and less silicone so they don’t harden as much when it is cold, work best in temperatures under 7?Celsius. Winter tyres have wider grooves which have greater grip in snow and slush and more sideways grooves to give more edges and contact with the road surface.

That translates into shorter braking distances which reduces the risk of a crash: at 20 mph a car or van equipped with winter tyres will stop 11 metres sooner on icy roads than if fitted with summer tyres; at 30 mph the braking distance on snowy roads is reduced by eight metres.

As well as improving road safety, swapping summer tyres for winter tyres designed to perform in the harshest of conditions could actually reduce fleet operating costs.

Mr Lambert explained: “Winter tyres can last as long as summer tyres and perform better in winter conditions. Depending on vehicle mileage, winter tyres could last for two or even three winters. As, a result wear and tear suffered by summer tyres, which is increased in harsh road conditions, is reduced so postponing their replacement.”